Fitness & Wellness

Jumpstart Your Metabolism

Jumpstart Your Metabolism

Everyone has THAT friend who seems to eat everything they want and never gain a pound. There are many reasons for that. One of those is a high-functioning metabolism that burns more calories. If you’re tired of continuously cutting calories without seeing the results you want, it’s time to take a different approach to weight loss. You can jumpstart your metabolism to help you shed those extra pounds.

Start exercising.

The more active you are, the more calories you burn and the more weight you’ll lose. Working out regularly does even more for weight loss. It builds muscle tissue and burns fat. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat does. The more you have, the more calories you burn 24/7 and the higher your metabolism is. Include strength-building in your fitness program.

Do at least one HIIT workout each week.

A HIIT workout—-high intensity interval training—isn’t a specific group of exercises, but a way of doing any exercise. You alternate from peak intensity to a moderate recovery pace and back again. It allows your body to burn more calories while also boosting your metabolism. That gets you in shape faster. It increases the calories you burn by as much as 15%. Your metabolism is higher for an additional 24 to 48 hours after a workout.

Your diet plays a significant role in your metabolism.

Don’t skip meals or go on a super low-calorie diet thinking it will help you lose weight. If your body is denied enough calories to function properly, it goes into starvation mode. Starvation mode slows metabolism to ensure you have adequate calories for vital bodily functions and organs. You also find your energy waning, which means you won’t workout as hard or have the energy to remain active. Eat a healthy meal that’s lower in calories, but not one that’s too low.

  • While running burns a lot of calories, those calories come from burning both muscle and fat. Focus more on strength-building and less on cardio to torch the calories and boost your metabolism.
  • Some foods burn more calories to digest than others do. Protein takes a lot of calories to digest. Just as foods high in fiber keep you feeling full longer, so do foods high in protein.
  • Drink ice-cold water. It boosts your metabolism. The body needs extra calories to warm the insides after drinking ice-cold water. That’s a small boost in metabolism. Staying hydrated also keeps your body burning calories at a higher rate and boosts your metabolism.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can cause a disruption of your hormones that make you hungrier. It also can cause you to feel sluggish and not burn as many calories.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Melt Your Fat Away

Melt Your Fat Away

People come to Next Level Fitness in Irvine, CA, for many reasons. One of the most frequently seen is the desire to eliminate fat and build muscle. There are proven exercises and dietary changes that will help you melt fat fast. That doesn’t mean it won’t take effort, because it will, but you’ll love the results. You’ll build muscle tissue as you burn fat and boost your metabolism in the process. Here are some fat-burning ideas to get you started.

Include HIIT workouts.

A HIIT workout is not a specific exercise but a way of doing any exercise. It’s all about alternating the intensity from high intensity to a recovery pace. HIIT workouts build cardio strength as they burn tons of fat. You can use this technique with strength-building exercises, too. It burns extra calories that come from breaking down fat, not muscle, and burns extra calories after you stop due to afterburn. You’ll burn as much as 15% more calories.

Your diet plays a vital role in fat burning.

To lose fat, you have to lose weight or change the fat into muscle. HIIT workouts build muscle and eliminate fat but adding a healthy diet is also vital. If you consume 3500 calories more than you burn, you’ll gain a pound. In many cases, that pound is fat. Including fruits and vegetables in your diet is vital, but so is including adequate protein and healthy fat. Healthy fat helps burn body fat and protein builds muscle tissue. Both keep you feeling full longer. Doing strength training while cutting calories can help maintain muscle tissue while burning fat.

It’s not just diet and exercise that counts.

If you don’t get enough sleep or stay hydrated, you’ll be less active and less prone to workout. That is just one problem caused by both. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body increases the amount of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, it makes and diminishes the amount of leptin, the satiety hormone. That keeps you hungrier, so you cave to temptation. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so dehydration can cause you to eat more.

  • Do some heavy lifting to build muscles as you burn fat. The more muscles you have, the more calories you need to maintain them. Burning those extra calories can cause you to lose more fat.
  • Increase your exercise to boost the creation of irisin. The body has white and brown fat. Brown fat burns more calories. Irisin turns white fat to brown fat, increasing calorie burning by 20%.
  • Compound exercises burn more calories than isolation exercises. Compound exercises like lunges and squats work more muscles and joints. It also boosts the creation of nitric oxide, which can lower blood pressure.
  • Ditch the soft drinks, including diet drinks. Traditional soft drinks are high in sugar. Recent studies show diet drinks increase waist circumference size. In other words, it increases belly fat.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Where Did You Get Your Arms?

Where Did You Get Your Arms?

It’s a great time to start toning your arms. They’ll look fantastic by spring and enviable by summer. Nobody wants flabby arms or skinny ones, regardless of gender. Here are exercises to build muscles. They’ll tone or build, depending on your goals. The difference is if you push your muscles to failure, the amount of weight you lift, the number of reps, and the number of calories you eat. If you want to build muscle tissue, you have to eat more protein calories.

Do bodyweight exercises and skip the equipment.

Go old school with bodyweight exercises like push-ups. If you can’t do a regular push-up, do a modified one on a bent knee until you’re strong enough. Adjusting the width of your hands from shoulder-width to narrower or wider can work other muscles in the arms. Doing other push-up modifications like fingers inward push-ups or plank push-ups. Pullups, planks, and towel curls are also excellent options you can use to create amazing-looking arms.

Build your arms as you work at your desk.

Warning. Don’t try to do this if your chair has rollers or you have one that is unstable. Wooden chairs work best for chair dips, but you can use the edge of a solid table, like a coffee table. Sit on the edge with your heels touching and your feet extended. Grasp the edge of the chair and lift yourself as you slide your body forward, allowing your bottom to drop below the chair’s edge. Slowly lower your body. If you can lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and still maintain control, do it. Slowly lift yourself back up into a seated position.

Use weights.

If you don’t have weights at home or you aren’t in the gym, create your own weights with water or sand-filled bottles. If you want toned forearms, wrist curls and palms down wrist curls will provide benefits. For upper arms, bicep curls work. If you have batwings, you can eliminate them with tricep overhead extensions, triceps kickbacks, and chest presses work.

  • Do a plank and hold it while you’re watching TV. If you use a streaming service, save money with the ones with commercials. During commercials, do planks and push-ups.
  • Get resistance bands to help you build your arms. You can use them at home when you’re not at the gym. Hold one end in each hand with your arms outstretched in front and then pull your hands apart.
  • Rowing machines, bicep curl machines, cables, elliptical, and assisted pull-ups can increase your gains. Using this gym equipment can boost your progress.
  • If you want to build your arms, get help from one of our trainers. They can create a program designed specifically for your goals and fitness level.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

The Importance Of Rest Days

The Importance Of Rest Days

One of the biggest problems people face with intense focus on their fitness goals is not including rest days. Rest days may sound like you lay on the couch on those days, but it isn’t what you do. Instead, you engage in recovery activities like walking or moderate biking. You’re doing your muscles and fitness program a service when you take a day or two from intense exercise.

Recover on rest days.

Intense workouts take their toll on your body. It’s why they’re called intense workouts. You push your muscles to the limit, causing micro tears in the muscles. When you rest, it gives the body time to make repairs, healing the muscle with scar tissue that makes the muscles larger and stronger. Those microtears never heal if you never rest. The accumulation of microtears makes your muscles weaker. Light exercise during rest days boosts circulation to speed recovery.

Exercise stresses your body.

Exercise burns off stress hormones, but intense exercise causes new stress. If you give your body a chance to rest, the rest solves the problem. If you don’t, it causes all the conditions that stress does, which include psychological problems like moodiness. It can cause a high resting heart rate, make you tire quickly, disturb your sleep, and lower your immunity.

Rest days improve your focus.

If you find your mind wandering or you’re not getting the desired results from your efforts, you need a rest day. Focusing only on exercise not only narrows your world. It can cause brain fog. Your mind isn’t in the game. You’ll often end up just going through the motions. That can cause you to become less focused on form and cause injury. Taking a rest day can solve it.

  • You can reduce the number of rest days by alternating your work on different muscle groups. Muscle tissue heals in 48-72 hours, so working on the upper body one day, the lower body the next, and a rest day on the third is a good option.
  • Do activities you enjoy on your rest days. They can be physical, like dancing, biking, or playing basketball, but they don’t involve going to the gym or doing specific exercises. It helps keep your mind more refreshed.
  • If you don’t exercise intensely, you won’t need rest days. People who walk regularly don’t require it, but people who do intense strength training do. Strength-building workouts require replenishing glycogen and healing time.
  • You’ll improve your performance by taking a day of rest. Lack of rest days causes a higher heart rate, fatigue, reduced agility, reduced endurance, and increased reaction time.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Maximize Muscle Growth

Maximize Muscle Growth

Muscle growth increases muscle size, boosts strength, and tones the muscles. It’s an integral part of all fitness programs, including endurance goals. Some muscle growth exercises build strength and other exercises increase muscle size. Both types of exercises are part of a well-rounded program. No matter what your goal, all muscle growth starts in the kitchen with a well-rounded diet that has increased protein. The increase in protein provides the materials to build muscles.

Create a program that matches your goals.

Each person has a different goal. Some want to build big muscles, while others want to improve their muscle strength. Both require similar exercises. The difference is how you do each exercise. To build larger muscles, you use lighter weights and more repetitions. To increase muscle strength, you use heavier weights, fewer repetitions, and exercise to failure. Both ways of exercising build more muscle mass, but using lighter weights builds more bulk.

Workout different muscle groups on consecutive days.

When you do muscle-building exercises, it causes microtears in the muscles. The body then heals it, creating scar tissue that makes the muscle bigger or stronger. The healing process takes time, approximately 48-72 hours. Working the same muscles every day is counterproductive since the muscles never have a chance to heal, causing them to become weaker. By alternating the muscle groups you work on, you allow each group to heal.

Use workout techniques that give you more for your effort.

Doing HIIT—high intensity interval training, compound exercises, and full-body workouts boosts your progress. HIIT isn’t a specific exercise but a way of doing any exercise, including those for strength-building. You exercise at peak intensity for a short period, then reduce the intensity to a recovery pace, alternating between peak intensity and recovery. Compound and full-body exercises work several muscle groups, tendons, and joints.

  • Before you workout, start with a pre-workout snack that includes carbohydrates and protein. It stimulates the start of muscle growth. End the workout with a post-workout snack to start the recovery and muscle-building process.
  • Don’t forget to include healthy fat in your diet. About 20% of your calories should come from healthy fat. Healthy fat is necessary for hormones like testosterone that aid in muscle building. It also helps absorb vital nutrients like vitamins A, D, K, and E.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Your body heals when you sleep. That includes the healing of microtears in the muscles. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, too. It improves results by giving you more energy.
  • Work your muscles on several planes and focus on form. Working muscles on all planes develop more balance and help prevent injury. Don’t forget warm-up and cool-down exercises when exercising to warm the muscles and increase the range of motion.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Make Your Fitness Goals Come True In 2024

Make Your Fitness Goals Come True In 2024

After the holidays and the new year begins, many people in Irvine, CA, face the consequences of months of consuming too much food. Others want to get healthier and start on a path to a better lifestyle. It’s when everyone creates fitness goals that often fizzle out in a few months, weeks, or days. Don’t give up. You can make your goals come true in 2024 and see success by making a few changes.

Set specific goals and write them down.

Writing down a goal may seem simple, but it’s a powerful tool. When you write down a goal, you’re using more of your senses and imprinting it on several parts of your brain. It should be a specific, positive goal. Don’t write an, I won’t style of goal like I won’t eat junk food. Make it a positive goal. I will eat healthy meals and include 21/2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. When you write down a goal, you also have visual reminders you can post throughout your home and read throughout the day, imprinting it more in your brain.

Create a workout plan of action.

Schedule your workout and make it a permanent appointment with exercise. If you’ve previously vowed to exercise daily but that vow only lasted a few days, it’s time to change your approach. Put exercise on your schedule as you would any appointment. If your workday is hectic and you’re never sure when it ends, schedule your workout before it starts, first thing in the morning. If you’re not a morning person, find a time later in the day or break your workout into several shorter sessions daily.

Make small changes to boost the potential of success.

Everyone is different and has different goals. You may want to lose weight, while your neighbor or family member may want to increase their endurance. Each person’s goal varies, and so will how they increase the potential for success. Getting more active boosts endurance. Add activities like taking the stairs to your day. If you want to lose weight, start meal planning and have healthy snacks ready to eat when you need an energy boost.

  • Identify other areas in your life that impede progress. For example, lack of sleep can make you hungrier by increasing the hunger hormone and reducing the satiety hormone. It can make you too tired to workout or experience an effective workout.
  • Don’t overdo it at first. Don’t cut calories to a starvation level if you’re trying to lose weight. Instead, learn how to eat healthier. Don’t overdo your first few workouts or overtrain. It will leave you too sore to continue.
  • Take it easier on yourself if you have minor failures along the way. If you overate one day, all is not lost. Just start fresh the next day. Don’t give up if you miss one exercise session. Start again the next day.
  • Keep score. Video games are addictive because they track your progress and provide a goal. Tracking your fitness progress does the same thing. Record your workout, including the number of reps and sets, creating a visual record of your progress.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Is It Possible To Eat Tasty Foods Without Ruining My Health?

Is It Possible To Eat Tasty Foods Without Ruining My Health?

So many unhealthy foods taste delicious that it’s easy to understand why the average American diet is so unhealthy. The salt, sugar, and fat in the food trigger a reaction that makes you feel good and crave even more. You can eat tasty foods without ruining your health, but you must make smarter decisions. You’ll also go through a certain amount of withdrawal from the sugar, salt, and fat. Once you conquer that, you’ll be amazed at how delicious healthy food can be.

Even some “healthy” foods are bad.

When you think of yogurt, you normally think of good health. So many people recommend it. You probably think that fat-free yogurt is even better. You’d be wrong. When they remove the fat, they remove much of the flavor and texture that makes it desirable and replace it with unhealthy additives like sugar to make it palatable. How do you combat that? Opt for full-fat yogurt. Mix a half cup with a half banana, fresh or frozen fruit, and walnuts, or layer it to make a parfait. It’s delicious and satisfies your craving for something sweet.

Fresh berries and other fruit are delicious and can curb your cravings for sugar.

Fruit contains sugar. So do cookies. But the sugar in fruit doesn’t impact your blood sugar levels the same way. The fiber in fruit slows the sugar absorption into the bloodstream and helps prevent the spikes that food with added sugar does. Those spikes in blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance, metabolic disease, diabetes, and other conditions. Switch to fresh fruit or go the extra mile and make frozen banana ice cream, half a frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate and nuts, or frozen grapes.

Skip the chips but keep the guacamole and salsa for dips.

Both salsa and guacamole contain healthy ingredients. The fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, hot peppers, and lime juice all are healthy ingredients, so keep the salsa. Mash the avocado and add those same ingredients for a deliciously healthy guacamole. Instead of tortilla chips, dip fresh vegetables like celery, broccoli crowns, carrots, or cauliflower. You can also use beet, kale, zucchini, or other types of chips.

  • Air-popped popcorn or homemade microwave popcorn are options for healthy snacks. Sprinkle on flavoring and spices for an additional treat. Nuts are another great snack.
  • Include sweet potatoes in your diet. They’re delicious and high in antioxidants, like vitamins A and C. You can make them in many ways, including slicing and baking them to create sweet potato chips.
  • At least part of that PB&J was healthy if you used peanut butter with one ingredient—peanuts. Combine it with chia jam and spread it on whole-grain bread for a delicious and healthy PB&J.
  • One key to eating healthier is to plan your meals. It starts with planning and at the grocery, where you skip the snack and candy aisle. Buy more whole foods and fewer, if any, highly processed foods to be on the road to healthy eating.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Delicious Healthy Breakfasts Without Bread

Delicious Healthy Breakfasts Without Bread

Starting the day eating healthy breakfasts without bread can help you lose weight. In Irvine, CA, many people are turning to creative options that keep you full longer yet are far healthier than their counterparts containing bread. Instead of toast, why not opt for sweet potato toast instead. Top it with homemade cashew spread and berries or spread mashed avocado and top it with an egg for the perfect healthy breakfast that keeps you full longer.

Speaking of avocados, why not use them to hold your egg?

Eggs, salt and pepper, and avocado create a delicious breakfast. Top it with bell peppers, spinach, bacon, or herbs for variety. Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, and place in a dish. Fill each empty pit with an egg. For runny yolks, cut the avocado in half and put an egg in the center of each half. If you like your yolk firm, scramble the egg before adding. Add any toppings you desire. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Who needs toast when you have tomatoes?

Create a culinary dish your family will love that’s easy with medium-sized tomatoes, eggs, avocado oil, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Cut the tomatoes down the middle through the stem area. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Spray the tomatoes with avocado oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper. Add other seasonings, like garlic powder, if you choose. Break the eggs into the middle of the tomato, top with Parmesan cheese, and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. It’s a delicious way to serve eggs without the need for toast.

Vegetable Frittatas can be keto-friendly and don’t require bread.

Combine eight large eggs with ¼ cup of milk or cream, salt, and pepper. Whisk them together in a bowl for the base of the frittata. In an oven-safe skillet—10″ cast iron is best, sauté your favorite veggies and meat. It takes about 2 ½ to 4 cups raw for the final 2 cups needed for the frittata. Pour the egg mixture and 2/3 cup of cheese into the pan and stir. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees until the center sets and the top is puffy.

  • Make a breadless breakfast sandwich with eggs for the outside instead of a muffin. Cook the sausage and eggs in a 3 ½ inch biscuit cutter for the perfect shape. Top the sausage with guacamole for even more flavor.
  • Omelets are filling and versatile. Add your favorite fillings and cheese to match your dietary and taste preferences.
  • Make chia pudding. Mix ½ C milk of choice, 2-4 T chia seeds, 1 T vanilla extract, and 1 tsp honey. Stir the milk and chia seeds, let stand for 15 minutes, and add honey and vanilla. Put in a blender, then refrigerate for at least two hours. Add your favorite fruit, nut butter, or topping.
  • Saute your favorite veggies and meats. Spoon the ingredients into large portabella mushroom caps with the stem and gills removed. You can omit the veggies and add an egg instead. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Foods That Might Combat Arthritis Pain

Foods That Might Combat Arthritis Pain

The more we know about the body and how it works, the more we realize that not all old wives’ tales were wrong. Maybe the lore behind eating certain foods was inaccurate, but the biochemicals in the food did help. You can improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and more by changing your diet. One amazing discovery is the ability to combat arthritis pain by including certain types of food.

The omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish like tuna can bring relief.

Whether you choose tuna, sardines, or mackerel, you’ll get a dose of omega-3 fatty acids when you eat it. You need omega-6, omega-9, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, but the average American diet contains far too much omega-6. Too little omega-3 leads to increased inflammation. Adding more can decrease it. Inflammation aggravates arthritis and can cause pain. Flaxseed, walnuts, and chia seeds are also beneficial.

Fruits and vegetables, especially berries, can help fight the inflammation.

Not all fruits and vegetables are alike when it comes to fighting inflammation. Cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are especially good. So are berries, apples, and pomegranates. Berries, like blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries all contain antioxidants that help prevent arthritis pain. The tannins in pomegranates curb the inflammation from arthritis.

Add spices to your dishes to decrease your pain as you add more flavor.

People used many herbs as remedies for thousands of years. Now, scientists know they contain chemicals that can help prevent inflammation and pain. Ginger is well known for its ability to calm an upset stomach, but it also has other health benefits, such as reducing arthritis pain. It’s the gingerol that provides both the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Curcumin in turmeric provides health benefits. It also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Use it with black pepper to boost the benefits.

  • You probably never thought endless salsa and chips at your favorite establishment could help with arthritis pain, but it does. At least the salsa does. Tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers can increase antioxidants to help relieve pain.
  • Dark chocolate can relieve pain if it’s at least 70% to 85% cocoa solids. That leaves the rest to come from other ingredients like sugar or vanilla. Watch out for high sugar content. Sugar increases inflammation and pain.
  • Skip the highly processed white bread and opt for more whole grains. You can even include quinoa or bulgar in your diet. The extra nutrients and fiber keep you healthier and can help with arthritis pain.
  • Including more nuts in your diet can help protect you from pain. Nuts are a good source of protein, but unlike meat protein, they won’t create inflammation. The omega-3 in some nuts, like walnuts, provides additional benefits.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

Can Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?

Can Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?

Many people in Irvine, CA, noticed a few negative changes occurring with weight loss. Hair loss was one of those problems. Unless there’s a health issue causing the weight loss, you aren’t destined to lose your hair or have other negative side effects. It’s all about how you lose the weight. Rapid weight loss causes acute telogen effluvium—TE. It starts after three months of rapid weight loss or other trauma that causes stress or shock to the body. It can occur due to nutritional deficiencies caused by restrictive diets but usually lasts only 6 months or less.

Crash dieting can lead to inadequate calories and nutrients for proper hair growth.

Extreme calorie restriction diets are stressful and don’t provide adequate calories or nutrients to allow hair to grow correctly. People constantly shed hair and replace it with new hair. If the nutrients to create the new strands aren’t available, it doesn’t stop the normal hair loss, so hair thins. Iron deficiency can cause hair loss. Crash diets can cause iron deficiency. Nutrients like zinc, essential fatty acids, protein, and vitamins B, C, D, A, and biotin, are also necessary to complete the growth cycle.

Your hair requires amino acids.

Keratin is necessary for hair growth. Keratin is made from amino acids found in protein. If you don’t have enough keratin, your hair will produce hair follicles slower than it loses them. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or are on a restrictive diet, you may not have adequate dietary essential amino acids. Your body diverts the limited protein to vital functions such as hormone production, tissue repair, balancing water and pH, and digestion.

Stop hair loss with a healthy diet.

Even if you want to lose weight fast, it can take its toll on your body and show in the hair first. Fad diets may help you lose weight quickly, but that lost weight comes at a high price. Not only will you lose hair, but your metabolism will slow, muscles will wither, and it can affect your skin, causing it to be dry and wrinkled, or triggering a breakout. The slower your metabolism, the more the potential to regain the weight and a few more pounds. Losing a pound or two a couple of weeks before a special occasion is one thing but attempting to lose 15 to 20 pounds in a month is quite another. It can be dangerous.

  • Even if you eat adequate protein, if you don’t get all essential amino acids, such as leucine, valine, cysteine, and histidine, it can cause hair loss. Studies show deficiencies in these four amino acids are common in people who lose weight.
  • Lack of nutrients also creates weak hair that breaks more easily. Not only will it be replaced slowly, but it will also break off quicker, exacerbating hair loss.
  • Eating a whole food balanced diet can help stop hair loss. It will take a few months, but eventually, your body will have the necessary nutrients to create healthy hair strands.
  • While most hair growth supplements are safe, the best way to deal with hair loss is with a healthy diet that provides macro and micronutrients, plus phytochemicals that encourage hair growth.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness